Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) has acquired a petroleum exploration license for Kasuruban, an oil and gas block in Western Uganda. The Company has also signed a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD). This followed cabinet approval to award UNOC an exploration license and sign the PSA last month on 9th January 2023.
Kasuruban block spans 1,285sq kilometers in Buliisa, Hoima and Masindi districts and is the biggest of the five blocks MEMD announced in the second licensing round in May 2019.
The Minister (MEMD), Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, also one of our shareholders, signed the PSA with the CEO, Proscovia Nabbanja handing her the license in Kampala.
Hon. Nankabirwa appreciated UNOC for responding to the 2019 advert and remaining resilient through the COVID-19 pandemic when the oil and gas activities were significantly limited.
“We therefore appreciate the effort and commitment shown by UNOC that has been cooperative throughout the process, which shows their resilience and commitment to support development of the oil and gas sector,” she said.
The Minister additionally disclosed that UNOC had paid a US$100,000 signature bonus and an annual acreage rental fee of US$25,700 that was deposited in the Petroleum Fund including research and training fees totaling US$30,000. This brought the total payment by UNOC to US$155,700 as necessary fees Oil Companies are required to pay before a license is granted.
“Signing a PSA and handing over a license to UNOC was proof of national content,” the MEMD Permanent Secretary, Eng. Irene Batebe further highlighted.
Ms. Proscovia Nabbanja – the CEO UNOC, who was delighted to sign and receive the license, acknowledged that “exploring for oil and gas in Kasuruban, would enhance UNOC’s expertise in the upstream segment of the sector.”
“In addition, UNOC has the mandate to develop in-depth expertise in the oil and gas industry. Therefore, to achieve this mandate, UNOC has a strategic goal of becoming independent operator in the long term and the award of this PSA and license for Kasuruban contract area today, is a step to realization of this goal,” she stated.
Ms. Nabbanja pledged that UNOC would find a joint venture partner in accordance with industry practice.
“We pledge to secure a reputable company with the requisite technical and financial capacities and experience, as well as the commitment to support UNOC’s national aspirations to form a joint venture partnership in the contract area,” she said.
The signing of the PSA and issuance of license gives UNOC the opportunity to undertake its first exploration work as a national oil company in the pursuit of establishing additional petroleum resources and reserves for the country.
UNOC is a limited liability company owned by the government and mandated to handle commercial interests along the entire value chain in the petroleum sector ensuring that the resource is exploited in a sustainable manner.